Prospect Stock Drop: Cody Sedlock: Has He Already Earned A “Bust” Label?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Orioles’ farm system was not highly touted entering the season, though they did see a few prospects take a step forward and emerge. However they also had one extremely disappointment in RHP Cody Sedlock, who was the team’s first round draft pick in 2016 and our preseason #1 for the system (B+ grade). At the time we said:

“The team’s first round pick this past year, he only tossed 27.0 innings in the minors this season and it will be interesting to see how quickly the team builds up his workload after operating as a reliever in college early in his career. The big question that came about in his first taste of professional baseball is his control (13 BB), as he demonstrated strikeouts (25) and groundball stuff (2.00 GO/AO). Obviously it was an extremely small sample size, though as we said that’s part of the problem.

He has the repertoire and size (6’3”) to make it as a starter, though there are obvious questions (and that doesn’t even mention the team’s history of injuries among their starting pitcher prospects).”

While it was fair to have some concerns, no one could’ve expected him to be as bad as he was at High-A. Pitching to a 5.90 ERA and 1.72 WHIP over 90.0 innings, the underlying marks didn’t offer much hope:

  • Strikeouts – 6.90 K/9
  • Walks – 3.60 BB/9
  • Groundballs – 46.4%

You can argue that there was a little bit of bad luck (.356 BABIP, 64.3% strand rate), but he was hit hard (24.0% line drive rate) and a 10.0% SwStr% is solid but unspectacular. He also battled injuries throughout the season, being placed on the DL in July with an elbow injury and then again with tightness in his forearm. Considering the history Baltimore has with pitching prospects and injuries (think Dylan Bundy), there are obviously some concerns.

Two separate arm injuries, as well as having spent time in the bullpen in college, also makes you wonder if his future lies in the bullpen. If they think his body can hold up the motivation obviously would be to keep him as a starter, and don’t expect them to depart from that plan already, but it is a possibility. Maybe his struggles/injuries have to do with the transition back to starting, so for now we will give him the benefit of the doubt (as will Baltimore).

It’s impossible not to downgrade him significantly, likely moving him more towards a B-/C+ prospect. He still has the repertoire and upside to develop, but he injuries and questions about his future role can’t be ignored. It was clearly a disappointing season, but don’t write him off completely.

Sources – Fangraphs, MILB.com

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